Nigerian Senate defers debate on extension of emergency rule, summons military chiefs

Senate chamber
Senate chamber

“It is the tradition of this senate that we appraise and assess the performance of the state of emergency before we debate it.”

The Senate has deferred debate on the request by President Goodluck Jonathan for an extension of emergency rule in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

Mr. Jonathan on Tuesday, asked the Senate to extend the state of emergency in the three states for additional six months.

The President argued that the extension is necessary due to continued threats of Boko Haram in the affected states.

The Senate, however, decided to defer debate on the issue following its decision to summon all the service and security chiefs to appear before it and brief senators on the level of performance of the current emergency rule in the affected states.

The resolution followed a motion by the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba that the debate on the request for extension should be deferred to another legislative date.

Mr. Ndoma-Egba said that the Senate could not debate the request because an aspect of a constitutional provision dealing with emergency rule had not been gazetted.

“We must circulate the gazette before we can debate it.

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“Secondly, it is the tradition of this senate that we appraise and assess the performance of the state of emergency before we debate it,” he said.

He, therefore, moved that all the service and security chiefs should be invited to brief the senators on the performance of the current emergency rule in the affected States.

“So I will move that this distinguished senate do invite the Chief of Army staff, the Chief of Naval staff, Chief of Air staff, the Inspector-General of Police to brief this distinguish senate tomorrow in a closed session to enable us to commence debate on the President’s request.”

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over Wednesday’s plenary, said the motion was crucial because it concerned the security of the nation.

“This motion is a very serious business which bothers on the security of a part of this country and we need to be well informed of the situation on ground and the efficiency or the effectiveness of the state of emergency in the past 12 months to enable us take a proper decision.

“I, therefore, appealed that in accordance with the motion moved by the senate leader, we should step it down till another legislative day,” Mr. Ekweremadu said.

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Seconding the motion, James Manager (PDP-Delta) urged the Senate to equally invite the National Security Adviser, NSA, the Ministers of Defence and Police Affair to be part of the briefing.

“It is important to invite the service chiefs but since they are under some authorities, I want to amend the motion as proposed by the Senate Leader by adding two very important persons.

“First the National Security Adviser, the Minister of Defence and the Minister of Police Affairs should be included among those invited to brief us on the emergency rule,” he suggested.

The Deputy Senate President subsequently, ruled that all the service and security chiefs, the NSA, the Minister of Defence and Minister of Police should appear before the Senate on Thursday at 10 a.m.

(NAN)

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